Diesel-produced NO2 Exceeds Safe Limit in London

Parts of five London boroughs including Camden, City of London and Westminster exceed EU air pollution limits by up to 50 per cent. Map courtesy of Autocar.

Published: 16-Jun-2006

Levels of the noxious gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceed the EU 'safe limit' in parts of London by up to 50 per cent, according to a new report published today by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

The EU says NO2 levels need to stay below 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air (mcg/m3) to be safe, but parts of several wards in London have recorded ambient NO2 levels respiratory physiotherapists say are harmful to human health.

Readings taken from parts of 10 wards within Camden, the City of London, Islington, Lambeth and Westminster exceed EU recommendations by up to 50 per cent. Parts of a further 63 London wards recorded scores which exceed the EU limit by up to 25 per cent (see the PDF download at the bottom of this page to view data for all wards).

Professor Grahame Pope, spokesperson for the CSP said:
'Our study shows NO2 air pollution far exceeds EU target levels across London and is dangerously close to breaching the EU's safe limit in other parts of the country.

'It's bad news for people living and working in the capital as exposure to this pollutant can cause wheezing and shortness of breath. The consequences for people with lung conditions, like asthma, can be especially severe.

'Traffic fumes are a major source of this pollution, so we are urging the government to look at cleaner fuel options. We are also calling on car users to do their bit, by walking or cycling where possible. This would not only benefit their own health, but the health of others too.'
The table below shows concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in some areas of London. Scores over 4 indicate the area's NO2 levels exceed the EU limit. See the PDF download at the bottom of this page for a full list of areas in London with high concentrations of NO2 emissions and those approaching the EU limit in other parts of England.

London data

Data source: Ambient Air Quality: Scores of Nitrogen Dioxide concentrations at background and roadside locations 2004.

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